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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Horror > Superhero > Vampire > Blade II (2002/New Line/Warner Blu-ray)

Blade II (2002/New Line/Warner Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B+     Extras: C+     Film: C+



After a disastrous Canadian Blu-ray release, Warner Bros. is issuing the entire Blade trilogy on three separate Blu-rays and are especially focusing on Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II (2002) which we reviewed the U.S. DVD of a while ago at this link:





Being a big fan of the first film, the one that finally allowed Marvel Comics to see one of their properties done well on the big screen (and a film that made The Matrix possible), neither I or my fellow writer we as impressed with it as Stephen Norrington’s first 1998 Blade, which we covered in a Region 2 Japanese DTS DVD import at this link:





While the first film was a real vampire thriller with blood, mortality and was groundbreaking for its time, this second film decided to more or less start all over, retaining Wesley Snipes in the title role and making it more of a action graphic novel film with some fantasy overtones that will now remind one of True Blood or the Underworld series, while a sort of odd companion to del Toro’s two Hellboy films which I liked better (see both on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site).


Here, Blade has to save his mentor (Kris Kristofferson), meet up with the vampiric Shadow Council and fight the dangerous Reaper breed, who are an advanced version of a vampire.  Of course, there are secrets involved and sadly, it is more predictable than expected.  The overuse of digital effects were poor then and have not held up well, but they also serve to negate the mortality of blood and flesh, rendering that part of the film into the dated videogame realm and this overall approach killed a potentially long running series as Snipes only did one more film (also now on Blu-ray) and a bad TV series followed that was quickly cancelled.


Too bad, because the first film was pretty important and it all slowly imploded.  However, the film has its followers (including del Toro fans) and continues to be popular, thus this high profile back catalog release on Blu-ray.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the film along with my problems with its digital effects, with some footage looking poorer than it should and not as good as when I saw it in 35mm film during its original theatrical run, but this is better than the old DVD version just the same.  Director of Photography Gabriel Beristain did deliver a new look for the film versus the first film and lensed David S. Goyer’s Blade: Trinity (2004) as well.  Outside of those effects, this has character and atmosphere this Blu-ray captures pretty well most of the time.


Even more impressive is the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix, which is the biggest news for fans of the films as this was originally a DTS-ES 6.1 film and this new mix really shows off how great it is even versus the previous DTS DVD editions.  A DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has also been included (ES should work well enough on it) but the 7.1 mix still sounds state-of-the-art on the film’s 10th anniversary and is demo material for the best home theater systems.  Even if you do not like the film, you might want this as a sound demo even if it is just to try it out.


Extras include two feature length audio commentary tracks by del Toro worth listening to after seeing the film (one solo, the other with Goyer, Snipes and Producer Peter Frankfurt), Director’s Notebook interactive feature, Blade II: Blood Brothers featurette with writer Goyer, The Blood Pact collection of documentaries on making the film and Deleted/Alternate Scenes that show they were trying to make a good film.


Now you can visit or revisit it in a superior Blu-ray edition and see for yourself.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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